Interdiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is a fairly new type of procedure used for outpatient disc surgery. The surgeon uses X-rays to guide a special needle into the disc. A catheter is then put through the needle into the disc, and the needle is heated over 30 minutes. The heat makes the disc material shrink, which reduces the bulge or closes off the torn part of the disc. After surgery, patients are usually monitored for 90 minutes and then sent home. Sometimes doctors have their patients do a rehabilitation program afterwards.
Because it is a new treatment, long-term results are not known. But IDET has been shown to have good short-term benefits. IDET is most effective when the disc is definitely the painful tissue. Pain from other spinal joints or nerves aren't helped by IDET surgery.